How do we translate the familiar in-person coffee ordering experience at Starbucks to a Google Assistant action?


Conversation designer

Dialog writer




Google docs

How we got here

Working with our Google partners, we first defined some ground rules for a good conversation between a barista and a customer. 

  • Provide just enough information (quick and easy)
  • Be honest and clear (no ulterior motives)
  • Be relevant to what’s at hand (context)
  • Be polite and helpful (like a barista would be to a customer)


Research to understand how our baristas employ the cooperative principle

I listened to ~10 hours of drive-thru recordings to study how customers order and how baristas handle those orders. I was able to synthesize common phrases, ways to handle misunderstandings and clarifications, and the common parts of a barista-customer dialog. This helped create a more nuanced and human phrasing and informed the team better on the specifics of how our customers and baristas cooperate during ordering. 


My familiarity with the voice and tone of the Starbucks apps sped up and smoothed out delivery of dialog scripts, alternative phrasing, error message, and product synonyms to our Google partners.